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Malware (a portmanteau of "malicious software") is any software program developed for the purpose of causing harm to a computer system, similar to a virus or Trojan horse. Malware can be classified based on how it is executed, how it spreads, and/or ... what it does. The classification is not perfect, however, in the sense that the groups often overlap and the difference is not always obvious, giving rise to frequent flame wars. Overuse of the term 'Virus' Because viruses were historically the first to appear, the term "virus" is often applied, especially in the popular media, to all sorts of ... (view more)

Dennis Faas's picture

Vista Upgrade DVD Trick: Clean Install Vista Without Previous OS

It's a fact: a clean install of Windows is *always* preferable to upgrading a new version over top of a previous Windows installation. Why is this so? The answer is three words: The Windows Registry. For example: when you install and uninstall ... programs to a Windows PC, things get added to the Registry -- the 'heart' of the Windows Operating System. The Registry is a complex database that keeps track of installed programs, program preferences, user data, operating system settings, and the like. However, over time, some programs may not install or uninstall properly, and the Registry becomes ... (view more)

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Office Depot's $99 PC

Not so long ago we reported on Microsoft's demand that those corporations responsible for the tech industry's hardware should make computers far more affordable. At the time, the magic number was around $100, enough to afford the very basic frame of ... a computer without the faintest hope of running legitimate Microsoft software. The notion itself was aimed at the quickly developing third world, such as India or China, where tech production and manufacturing is quickly becoming integral to foreign economies. With that said, apparently Americans like the idea of cheap computers, too. This week ... (view more)

Dennis Faas's picture

Reassign PCI COM port?

Infopackets Reader Ric J. writes: " Hi Dennis, I recently tried to install a new PCI modem card in my system. The modem is Plug and Play (PNP) and should automatically configure itself once the drivers are installed. Unfortunately, the modem won't ... properly install on my machine. I went into Device Manager and found that the modem assigned itself to COM1, which was already in use. So my question is: how do I change the COM port so that the modem won't conflict with COM1? " Side note: PCI stands for Peripheral Component Interconnect, or 'personal computer bus'. A COM port is short ... (view more)

Dennis Faas's picture

The Dangers of File-Sharing Software

Is your computer safe from the dangers of file-sharing? I know mine isn't. Just this past Monday, I received a message stating that the file I received (through Kazaa) was infected with malicious code that could harm my computer. I was lucky that my ... anti-virus program caught the malevolent program from infecting my machine, otherwise I would have launched the file completely blind that my actions may have corrupted my entire hard drive. Indeed, a scary thought. At this point, I paused for a moment and thought to myself, "Could there be other nasty software lurking on my computer that may ... (view more)

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